CRICKET great Shane Warne has spoken of ”the kick in the guts” of having his integrity questioned during a 14-month investigation into his charity’s finances.
Warne said he felt vindicated that his charity, The Shane Warne Foundation, was cleared of any wrongdoing by Consumer Affairs Victoria during the week.
But he said the investigation had tarnished a charity that had given more than $4 million to dozens of children’s causes.
“In my personal life or my sporting career they can say whatever they want about me and I will cop it on the chin like I have for 25 years,” Warne told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“But when they have a go at my integrity about the Foundation, that has been so hurtful and disappointing because we have changed people’s lives, we have saved people’s lives.
“Besides my children this (the Foundation) is probably the best thing I have ever done. I am so proud of it and to be kicked in the guts and dragged through the gutter and to have people throwing accusations (while the CAV investigation was underway), has been a most hurtful thing.’’
“I am very grateful and thankful for my life and my family and what I have been able to achieve on the sporting field and that is why I wanted to give back,” Warne said, “and that is why my friends wanted to help because they believed in me, they knew me, and they wanted to help me to be able to give back.’’
“To raise over $4 million to give away and to be able to help out over 130 different children’s charities and families has been probably my proudest achievement.
Warne, 47, said he felt his high-profile had drawn extra attention to the probe, but said he was always confident the SWF would be cleared.
“I am a very easy target because I have made a lot of mistakes in my life,’’ he said, “… but anyone that thinks that I have done the wrong thing at the Foundation is wrong, just totally wrong.
“I have never ever taken one cent from the Foundation, neither has any other board member, patron, or ambassador.
“It is still nice that everything we have been saying has been backed up 100 per cent by the authorities. They have gone through us for 14 months with a fine tooth comb, even going down to who bought the raffle tickets at 2008 events,” he said.
“We as a Foundation have been cleared of any inappropriate behaviour and we have been cleared of any wrong doing, the only thing we have done wrong is we had one late lodgement of our accounts in 2015.’’
Watch Warne playing cricket with Novak Djokovic to raise money for charity ahead of the 2017 Australian Open: